With a few weeks to go before Bulgaria’s mountain winter ski resorts of Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo open officially for the season, there is optimism about the 2014/25 season seeing an increase in visitors, while foreign media reports have given some of the resorts a boost.
A survey commissioned by travel review website Trip Advisor, the results of which were released earlier in November, said that Bansko topped the affordability stakes among 42 European ski destinations.
The survey took into account the average costs of a week’s hotel accommodation, ski equipment hire, lessons, lift pass and a week’s evening meals and drinks. The cost in Bansko would be 1631 pounds sterling, according to the survey, which was quoted in several widely-read British media.
Bansko, where the season will open officially on December 13 2014, is ready for the winter season, mayor Georgi Ikonomov told local media.
Some roads were being re-paved and improvements were being made to water reticulation systems, while the Bansko-Simitli road was being fixed, Ikonomov said.
He said that the resort would get a further tourist boost with the world skiing cup round being held in Bansko from February 28 to March 1 2015 in Bansko.
Bulgaria’s Pamporovo, where unofficial information is that the season will open on December 6 2014 and continue until April 19 2015, got a mention in dispatches by Russian website travel.ru as among the top 10 most inexpensive ski resorts.
Taking into account the cost, for one person, of three-star hotel accommodation within five km of the ski lifts, the cost of dinner in a restaurant near the hotel, a one-day ski pass and spa services, travel.ru said that a visit to Pamporovo would mean a budget of 89 euro a day.
This did not make it those most inexpensive – those were, according to the website, Jahorina in Bosnia and Herzegovina at 50 euro a day and Poiana Brasov in Romania at 55 euro a day.
Others were Platak, Croatia (77 euro), Štrbské Pleso, Slovakia (78 euro), Harrachov, Czech Republic (80) euro, Sleme, Croatia (81 euro), Kopaonik, Serbia (83 euro), Zakopane, Poland (86 euro), and Bohinj, Slovenia (87 euro).
Borovets, where the season opens on December 13, was given a kind mention on November 10 in the Herald Scotland, in an article produced in association with talkholiday.com.
“Some still snort with disdain at Bulgarian skiing – the same folks too image conscious to shop at Lidl or Aldi. It’s their loss. Close to Sofia in the Rila mountains the higgledy-piggledy village of Borovets has ski-in-ski-out accommodation, an excellent ski school, few lift queues and a friendly feel, all at a bargain price,” the article said.
Separately, local reports said that lift prices in Borovets would be the same as last season.
Investments in the 2014/15 winter season in Borovets were providing new opportunities for ski and board sports enthusiasts, making the resort less dependent on weather conditions, local reports said.
The number of snow-making machines had been increased significantly. There will be more tracks adapted for night skiing.
For fans of freestyle fun, new trails and modern rails and jumps had been added, reports said.
At the end of October, Bulgaria’s deputy economy minister Branimir Botev said that the country expected that the number of tourists visiting the country for the winter season was expected to be 4.5 to five per cent higher than last year. He added that even though the 2013/14 season had seen little snow, visitor numbers had increased by 4.1 per cent and this year growth was expected to be even stronger.
(Photo of Pamporovo in December 2013: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)